Avocado, properties and health benefits

The avocado or avocado is a delicate fruit that, under its rough skin, hides a delicious nutritious pulp with a multitude of benefits for our health.

What is avocado?

Avocado is a very fleshy tropical fruit that is obtained from the tree with the same name. Also, this fruit is known avocado in areas of Latin America.

It is a fruit with a lot of pulp that is protected by a thick and hard skin. The tone of the rind depends on the variety. However, the color is always green.

Inside, the pulp is yellowish-green in color that becomes lighter , depending on the varieties. Likewise, the pulp is oily, very fragrant and with a very characteristic flavor that sometimes resembles walnut or hazelnut .

In addition, inside in the center of the pulp it has a bone or seed of a rounded shape. It can measure between 2 and 4 cm. It is light brown in color.

The weight of the fruits manages to oscillate between 200 and 400 grams . However, there are sizes of these fruits that can reach up to 2 kg.

Origin of avocado

The origin of the avocado or avocado is not very well defined. Similarly, it is known that it probably grew as a wild tree in regions of Mexico and Colombia.

According to archaeological studies, they date the presence of these fruits in Mexico in 8000 BC.

The name of avocado in Spanish comes from the Aztec ahuacatl which translates as testicle. After the conquest, the Spanish named it ” pear of the Indies” because of the similarity with the well-known pear.

Avocado, fruit or vegetable?

It is, without a doubt, an ingredient widely used in our cuisine. It is used in many recipes such as guacamole, pozle, in tacos or other sweet recipes.

Therefore, it is an essential ingredient in our kitchen. However, a question arises, is it a fruit or a vegetable?

It is certainly a fruit. It is likely that the doubt arises because of its appearance or because of its flavor that is not sweet.

However, this food comes from a tree after a plant flower. In addition, it has seed.

On the contrary, vegetables have a different origin such as stems, buds, leaves or roots and do not have seeds.

Avocado production

The avocado or avocado tree is evergreen. It comes from tropical and subtropical areas of Central America and the Caribbean.

The avocado tree can reach up to twenty meters in height. In addition, they do not bear fruit until the tree is adult and can take up to six years.

Currently the avocado or avocado is cultivated in many countries among which are Mexico, Indonesia and Peru.

These countries are the main exporters of avocados on the entire planet. Next are other countries such as Spain, Chile, the United States, Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand and Colombia.

Of all of them and according to FAO sources, Mexico is the country that most exports these foods, along with Peru and Indonesia. Therefore, together they represent almost 70% of world production. [1]

Meanwhile, both cultivation and imports grow very rapidly every year. Countries like the United States or France are major importers of these fruits.

Cultivation in Spain

In Spain, 90% of the cultivation is concentrated in regions of Andalusia. Specifically in the provinces of Malaga and Granada.

It is in these privileged regions of the Iberian Peninsula where it is ideal for the harvest of this fruit. An area with a subtropical microclimate where these tropical fruits of Mexican origin grow with supreme quality.

Avocado season

The avocado is a fruit of Central American origin with nutritional properties with different benefits for our health.

In Spain, avocado is grown mainly on the Costa Tropical of Granada and Malaga.

The best time to enjoy avocados produced in Spain is from October to May. Although, as we have already mentioned, you can consume high quality avocados practically throughout the year.

You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

Avocado varieties

It is popularly known that the avocado or avocado is one of the most consumed fruits on the planet with properties that make this food an essential in our kitchen.

It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and high fiber content, among other nutrients and with different benefits for our health.

In addition, in Spain avocados of very good quality are grown, among which we can distinguish the following varieties:

Hass

It is one of the most widespread both in Spain and in the rest of the planet. It is characterized by having rough and dark green skin.

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Considering very good quality, it is less fibrous than other varieties. Its flavor is reminiscent of walnut.

Its collection period in is very long. Therefore, it is one of the most consumed and cultivated on the entire planet.

It is of Guatemalan origin and its maturation period is between spring and summer.

Lamb Hass

Of the same origin as the previous one, but somewhat larger in size. It is more resistant to adverse weather.

Ripens in summer.

Zutano

It is a hybrid much more resistant to cold than the previous one. However, the quality of its pulp is worse. It ripens in winter and is of Guatemalan Mexican origin.

Bacon

Hybrid from the same origin as the previous one with larger fruits. Similarly, the quality of the pulp is worse than the fruit of the Hass variety.

It should be noted that it is made of smooth, fine and green skin. Ripens in mid-winter.

Strong

Hybrid from the same origin as the previous one is very similar to Hass in quality. However, it is much more delicate. Ripens in late winter.

Pinkerton

Hybrid from the same origin as the previous one with good quality fruits.

Its maturation period is between spring and summer.

Reed

Of Guatemalan origin with very large fruits. More rounded and with a taste very similar to Hass. Ripens in summer.

How to buy avocados?

These fruits can be bought practically throughout the year. We have to pay special attention to how to buy them at the most optimal time.

The color tone of the skin depends on the variety and not, as many believe, on the ripening. To know if the avocado is ripe and in its best moment for consumption, it depends on whether its pulp is soft.

A trick to know if it is in its optimal state is by shaking it and noticing the bone inside. Another way to know if it is optimal for consumption is by gently pressing your feet to check that it gives a little.

Conservation

We can keep these fruits at room temperature or in the fridge , depending on their maturity. If the fruit is very whole, it is advisable to leave it out of the refrigerator at room temperature. In addition, it is important that it does not shine in direct light.

On the contrary, we can keep it in the refrigerator if we want to extend its conservation or if we buy a lot of it.

A trick to speed up the ripening process is to wrap it in newspaper next to a banana at room temperature.

If we already have the avocado cut, we can preserve it by adding lemon juice to the exposed part.

How do you eat avocado?

This food is normally eaten raw or as an ingredient in different healthy recipes. In the same way, it is also eaten cooked, being an ideal ingredient for many elaborate dishes.

The ideal point to eat it raw is when we can spread the avocado as if it were butter.

A very common recipe in Mexico is guacamole. A delicious mixture of avocado, onion, tomato, lemon and some hot spices, which can vary according to the cook.

How fattening does avocado?

Avocado is high in fat and high in calories. However, it is not a reason to say that avocado is fattening.

It is also true that excess consumption of this food can play a trick on our diet. We always recommend eating food in moderation in a balanced diet.

That said, we can say that avocado is not fattening. It is also an aid to activate our metabolism. In addition, it provides us with many nutrients that we will see below.

How much avocado can you eat per day?

The amount that we can eat per day varies a lot according to the specific case of each person. We always advise consulting with a doctor or nutritionist.

Once this point is made, we can say that with a moderate portion of an avocado in your daily diet is a recommended amount to benefit from all its nutritional properties.

We recommend that you do not exceed a third of avocado a day. 

Avocado contraindications

There is no doubt that avocado is a very healthy and nutritious food. In addition, it is delicious and is an ideal ingredient for our favorite recipes.

However, it can cause us some problems if we eat it in excess.

Among the dangers of eating avocados in excess we can list the following:

1. Weight gain

As we have already mentioned, this food is high in fat and provides us with enough calories. An avocado a day can be too much and can lead to weight gain.

2. Allergy

Although it is not usual, it is possible that excessively eating these foods will cause us to develop some type of allergy to this fruit.

Avocado properties

This fruit is characterized by being rich in fat. For this reason, it can be considered a very energetic food that provides us with many calories.

However, it is rich in minerals such as potassium, iron, and phosphorus. In the same way, it gives us few carbohydrates.

It also provides us with other nutrients such as vitamins A, E, K, folate, vitamin C, B-6, lutein, phytosterols and monounsaturated fatty acids that have various properties.

The pulp is, being so rich in fat, it is considered a vegetable butter. However, this butter is distinguished from other butters by its vegetable origin and because its fat is unsaturated. Therefore, one of its properties is that it does not give us cholesterol.

Average nutritional value per 50 grams of avocado (1/3 of a piece approx.)

In this table we can see the nutritional value of a recommended serving of avocado.

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Energy80 kcal
Total fat8 g
Saturated fats1 g
Trans fat
Polyunsaturated fats1 g
Monounsaturated fats5 g
Cholesterol
Sodium
Potassium250 mg
Total carbohydrates4 g
Dietary fiber3 g
Protein1 g
Folate45 μg
Niacin1 mg
Pantothenic acid0.7 mg
Riboflavin0.1 mg
White. B60.1 mg
Lives. VS4 mg
Vit. E1 mg
Football10 mg
Copper0.1 mg
Iron0.3 mg
Magnesium15 mg
Manganese0.1 mg
Match30 mg
Zinc0.3 mg

Avocado benefits

Avocados are fruits with very beneficial nutrients for our health. Its moderate consumption is recommended for the whole family.

It is also an ideal food for athletes, children, the elderly and lactating women.

It is a source of healthy fats, fiber, and several important nutrients. However, the fat in avocado or avocado is heart-healthy. It does not give us cholesterol.

In addition, we can list the following benefits of eating avocado:

1. Helps lower cholesterol

As we have already mentioned, this food does not give us any cholesterol.

It contains oleic acid which is an unsaturated fat that is favorable for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.

In addition, the fat that it gives us is unsaturated. This fat is favorable for lowering bad LDL cholesterol. Meanwhile, it increases our good HDL cholesterol. [2]

2. Antioxidant function

Thanks to vitamin E it helps us fight free radicals and delay aging. In addition, there is a study where it is shown that adding avocado to salad can increase the absorption of antioxidants. [3]

3. Favorable for hair and skin

Vitamin E, in addition to being a powerful antioxidant, helps us with the health of our hair. Also to show off radiant and healthy skin.

Another nutrient that helps avocado with healthy skin and hair is vitamin D . Likewise, minerals such as magnesium, calcium and iron that avocado also provides us are beneficial.

4. For healthy eyesight

Thanks to lutein and zeaxanthin, avocados are a great help to maintain healthy eyesight. In addition, thanks to its protective effect on the eyes, it reduces the risk of cataracts. [4]

5. To keep artery tension at bay

Ideal for those suffering from hypertension, as it contains potassium, magnesium and very little sodium. Also, sodium is a favorable nutrient for regulating high blood pressure.

A study on the Hass variety directly links the consumption of this fruit with healthy effects for the heart. [5]

6. Helps prevent cardiovascular or heart disease

Also, it helps us prevent cardiovascular or heart disease.

One thing to keep in mind is that they contain more potassium than bananas. Also, potassium is a nutrient that most people do not get enough of through diet.

This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in the cells of your body and serves several important functions.

Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure. High blood pressure appears to be a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. [6]

7. Natural satiating

It is ideal to include in weight loss diets. Eating it responsibly and without excess, helps us not to snack between meals.

They are also high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which can promote weight loss.

In one study, people who ate avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied and had 28% less desire to eat for the next 5 hours,  compared to people who did not consume this fruit. [7]

Including avocados in your diet can help you eat less between meals in the long run and facilitate healthy eating habits.

Avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbohydrates, two attributes that should also help promote weight loss. Always in the context of a healthy diet.

8. For pregnant women

Contains folic acid, an essential nutrient for pregnant women. Folic acid is a vitamin that helps prevent premature birth and the proper formation of the brain and spinal cord. [8]

It also contains vitamin A that is recommended to help the correct formation of the baby’s skin and bones.

It also contains healthy fats and Omega 3, nutrients recommended for pregnant women.

9. Nutrient for the nervous system

It provides us with nutrients such as fatty acids, magnesium and vitamins of group B. As a consequence, it is a favorable food for regulating the nervous system.

It is ideal for people suffering from physical or mental stress.

Conclusions

It is an essential fruit in our kitchen for its nutritional properties so beneficial to our health. Rich in minerals such as potassium, iron and phosphorus. In addition to vitamins A, E, K, folate, vitamin C, B-6, lutein, phytosterols, and monounsaturated fatty acids.

Due to all these nutritional properties that avocado provides us, we find ourselves with an essential fruit in our diet. Therefore, we recommend its consumption in moderation.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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